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Samsung today unveiled this year’s updates to its smart television line, including a 146-inch display and 8K TVs that use AI to upscale lower-resolution content.
It’s all part of the Korean giant’s broader 2018 software update, which includes support for its Bixby virtual assistant inside the smart TVs launching this year, alongside an integration with the company’s SmartThings home automation platform.
Expanding the reach of Bixby is important for Samsung as the company looks to compete with Apple, Google, Amazon, Microsoft, and other providers of virtual assistants. All of those tech titans are racing to make sure that their software assistant is widely available to customers, whether they’re at home, sitting in front of a computer, or on the go.
Bringing Bixby to customers’ televisions puts it front and center in one of the key hubs in a user’s home. Speaking of hubs, the Samsung SmartThings app will now be used to configure all of the company’s home IoT products going forward, including its televisions, light switches, home security systems, thermostats, and more.
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Samsung is also aiming to make its 8K TVs more useful to customers by using machine learning to upscale lower-resolution content. Right now, there’s still a paucity of 4K video, and even less content at higher resolution. By using machine learning, Samsung thinks that its TVs can upscale available content and do so more successfully than past upscaling efforts.
This may make 8K TVs more appealing to people who are considering buying one even without much in the way of content that will natively take advantage of the high-resolution display.
All of this news comes as a part of Samsung’s broader set of announcements at CES, where the company also announced a new smart refrigerator and a workplace collaboration display.
Correction 8:53 p.m. Pacific: The Wall has a 146-inch screen, not 147 inches as previously stated.